Swallowed by the Sea tells the stories of Australia's greatest and most tragic shipwrecks, lost in raging storms, on jagged reefs, under enemy fire, or through human error, treachery or incompetence. Read about the oldest known wreck in Australian waters, the Tryal, driven into a maze of sunken rocks by the inept and reluctant Captain Brookes, and about Australia's worst civil disaster at sea, the loss of emigrant barque Cataraqui, which struck a reef off King Island in the middle of a stormy night, careened over onto its port side and then broke up, eventually disappearing under the water along with more than 400 men, women and children. The violent wrecking of ships is only part of the story. Maritime archaeologist Graeme Henderson has personally located and dived many of the shipwrecks in this book.
He describes diving in heavy turbulence to raise sandstone blocks and artillery pieces from the Batavia, the eerie experience of looking up at the jagged undercut cliffs that bore witness to the drowning of asylum seekers on SIEV 221, and swimming the length of the 50-metre HMS Pandora wreck, recording iron cannon, copper sheathing and other objects immune to the wood-devouring marine worms. Alongside historical paintings and photographs of original objects, the book includes colour underwater photographs of the dive sites with specially written recollections by members of the diving crew. From English and Dutch trading vessels in the seventeenth century to emigrant ships in the nineteenth century and the great warships of the Second World War, Swallowed by the Sea explains how each ship was wrecked and discovered, and what remains of the wrecks today.